Paley Dialogues: Breakfast

Ehab Al Shihabi + Kate OBrian, Al Jazeera America

May 20, 2014
8:00 – 9:00 AM
New York




Entering a crowded US cable news field, Al Jazeera America launched in late summer 2013 with the aim of offering an outsider's perspective on international news. On Tuesday, May 20, CEO Ehab Al Shihabi and President Kate OBrian, a 30-year veteran of ABC News, joined the Media Council in New York to discuss the challenges of launching a new channel, exporting the Al Jazeera brand, and attracting news consumers in a fragmented media world.

Ehab Al Shihabi, Chief Executive Officer, Al Jazeera America; Executive Director for International Operations, Al Jazeera
Ehab Al Shihabi, chief executive officer of Al Jazeera America and the executive director for international operations for Al Jazeera, has been integral in the development of Al Jazeera America. In his five years at Al Jazeera, Al Shihabi has overseen Al Jazeera’s more than 70 bureaus around the world – the largest footprint of any news gathering organization. In addition to leading the launch of Al Jazeera America, Al Shihabi has been leading the company’s recent expansion of Al Jazeera Balkans and Al Jazeera Turk. Prior to joining Al Jazeera, Al Shihabi spent 12 years as a senior management consultant at Arthur Andersen, Andersen Consulting, and Deloitte.

Kate OBrian, President, Al Jazeera America
Kate OBrian, president of Al Jazeera America, joins the Al Jazeera America team after 30 years at ABC. In her most recent role as senior vice president of newsgathering operations, OBrian was responsible for all of ABC News’ newsgathering operations including all ABC News bureaus worldwide; business, law and justice, medical, and investigative units; NewsOne, ABC News Radio, and affiliate relations. OBrian also was general manager of programming for ABC News Radio responsible for editorial content; overseas field producer in Rome and London; producer for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, both in Washington, DC and New York; and manager in talent development. She began as a television desk assistant in New York and joined the staff of This Week with David Brinkley when it launched in 1981. OBrian has won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award as part of the This Week with David Brinkley team, an Emmy Award for the 2000 Millennium coverage at ABC News, and a George Foster Peabody Award for ABC News’ September 11 coverage.

Moderated by Pat Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Paley Center for Media
From network correspondent and producer to president and CEO of PBS to her current position, Pat Mitchell’s career is characterized by her focus on media as a powerful force for social change. Her work has been recognized with forty-four Emmy Awards, five Peabody’s, and two Academy Award nominations. Mitchell has received numerous honors including the Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Leadership, the Women in Cable and Telecommunications Woman of the Year Award, and was a 2008 Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame Honoree. Mitchell serves on the boards of the Sundance Institute, the Mayo Clinic, VDAY (a movement to end violence against women), Human Rights Watch, and the Jordan River Foundation’s U.S. board. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Women’s Forum, Mitchell was named to Newsweek's 2011 list of "150 Women Who Shake the World."

This event was exclusive to Media Council members and other invited guests. To find out if you're eligible to join the Media Council, contact Stephanie Kousoulas at 212-621-6732 or

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